EU, South Korea join forces to develop 5G technology

The European Union and South Korea are due to launch a partnership which focuses on developing next-generation networking technology.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer on
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Image credit: CNET

The European Union and South Korea are expected to unveil a new partnership today which focuses on the development of 5G networks.

According to draft documents viewed by the Wall Street Journal, South Korea and the European Union will set up a joint research group for 5G system development, the creation of technology standards and radio frequency preparation to ensure 5G technology can be accommodated in the future.

The joining of forces will be overseen by two major groups: Europe's 5G PPP and the South Korean 5G Forum. Overall, the group's target is to play a dominant role in setting a "global consensus" and vision by the end of next year.

According to the EU, while one hour of high-definition footage can be downloaded on 4G networks in approximately six minutes, 5G technology would cut this time down to only six seconds or less. It is hoped that speeds of up to 1Gbps can be achieved, and mobile 3D images, Ultra-HD, hologram transmission and "cutting edge" social networking services will be supported.

A report released by network monitor OpenSignal suggested that as of February 2014, there are 76 countries with LTE currently active -- but coverage and user experience varies. South Korea -- which has a mobile penetration rate of over 100 percent -- is the best performer, with the average user experiencing LTE 91 percent of the time. The EU is no longer a top dog in terms of communications technology, and 4G is patchy at best across the bloc. Unless the EU catches up, economic growth is likely to suffer, something EU businesses have criticized for years.

In January, the South Korean government said it plans to be the first entity to introduce 5G networking technology to the masses, and hopes the technology will be ready for launch by December 2020. Local firms, including the country's three major telecommunications firms and technology giants such as Samsung and LG have long been in talks with the government, and $1.49 billion in total is expected to be invested within 5G through 2020.

The plans announced earlier this year also stipulate partnerships with the U.S., China and Europe in order to establish standards and avoid future patent disputes.

In 2013, South Korean technology giant Samsung claimed it has made breakthroughs in the development of next-generation networking technology, and was able to transmit data at a speed of 1Gps through the 28 gigahertz (GHz) band. 

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